I'm not saying I haven't done it, but there are still shitloads of people out there texting while they're driving. Sitting high in my truck I notice it mostly at stoplights, but we all know what a slippery slope those goddamn smart phones are, so the Download of the Week this week is Werner Herzog's From One Second to the Next.
It's kind of an "after school special," but Herzog (Grizzly Man, Rescue Dawn) is such a brilliant filmmaker he goes past that and creates a 35-minute, heart-wrenching film focusing on four separate texting-while-driving accidents and the collateral damage of each. It's heavy and haunting but that's why everyone should watch this film every six months or so, because you won't, "B there in a sec." if you run over a kid on the way. Find From One Second to the Next on YouTube. This is a powerful flick with the ability to incite positive change.
On the other end of the spectrum, A Dolphin Tale 2 opens this week at the Village 8 and it looks like some kind of Sea World propaganda film fronted as another uplifting family drama. The original Dolphin Tale was based on a true story about how a rescued bottlenose dolphin in Florida made a miraculous recovery thanks to a prosthetic tail. This time around "Winter" the miracle dolphin (who now lives full time in a rescue and rehabilitation aquarium being chipper and performing scheduled shows for paying tourists) starts to get depressed (no shit) and to help her beat those captivity blues the loving team of scientists find and slide another rescued dolphin, a teeny tiny one named Hope, into the tank. Cue the uplifting music and new-found parental love.
The dolphins in the film are apparently the real creatures these stories are based on and the facility, Florida's non-profit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, has recently shifted its business plan away from performances and showmanship and more towards rehab and rescue. Just in time too because most of the civilized world is fed up with the Sea World approach to animal profiteering as films like Blackfish and The Cove reveal a much uglier side of the industry. Even the Vancouver Aquarium has come under fire recently for claiming they do not breed captive whales and dolphins while conveniently forgetting to mention that they maybe kinda sorta do trade, or loan their whales and dolphins to other aquariums who do breed them. The Georgia Straight has some good coverage of it if you're interested.
Animals in captivity is one of those public debates that fires people up on both sides, but all I know is if was out hiking in our vast mountain wilderness one day and suddenly got caught in a net and forced to live in a bathtub for the rest of my life, I'd probably get depressed too. So I'm skipping Dolphin Tale 2 and recommend staying home with the entire Blue Planet DVD set instead.
Also opening, No Good Deed stars badass Idris Elba (The Wire) as a brutalizing psychopath who escapes prison and terrorizes a young mother in her own home. The distributors cancelled all the press screenings claiming there is a plot twist that would spoil the movie if it leaked — but more likely the movie just sucks.
However, the proliferation of home invasion flicks lately is a nice dinner party conversation starter? Is the American psyche really that concerned about their security these days, or is Hollywood simply the world's slickest propaganda machine? If your citizenry is petrified of their own homes being violated by terrorists, minorities, or anything "other" it opens up a public acceptance as their leaders wage war on those same "others" both at home and abroad. Just a thought.
Ending on a more positive note: ski and snowboard movie season kicks off this Friday, Sept. 12 with Absinthe Films' Heavy Mental at Millennium Place. It looks pretty good and local manboy/hero Rusty Ockenden is in it. That guy is like the Idris Elba of pow and you know he doesn't text when he drives either (and not just because he rides a motorbike). Happy Autumn.